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Trustpilot to open new office, add 40 jobs in Denver

Trustpilot, an online ratings and review company based in Denmark, opened an office in Denver on May 1. The company will hire at least 40 people to handle its customer growth in western U.S.

Trustpilot offers a TrustScore of businesses based on recent reviews of a company’s services or offerings. The company says it has more than 19 million consumer reviews from and that its online community is growing by 10,000 users a day. They have produced 120,000 businesses and is live in 27 companies.

"Since establishing a U.S. presence less than three years ago, Trustpilot has enjoyed a tremendous growth trajectory here, stemming from the increasing expectation for trust and transparency between businesses and their customers," explains Fred Mather, Trustpilot's general manager, Americas.

The company says it chose Denver over other cities "because of its growing technology industry, its reputation as a hub of innovation and strong local talent pool." Trustpilot plans on hiring everything from account executive to sales managers for the new Denver office. The new positions will expand the company’s workforce by roughly 20 percent.

The office will be based in the new WeWork space in LoDo and will be one of the first tenants in the space. The company says it plans to search for its own office space and to sign a permanent lease later this year.

Trustpilot says its hires in Denver will receive the same benefits it offers at all of its employees around the world. Among them: sit-stand desks, catered weekly lunches and breakfasts, extracurricular activities, paid family leave and generous paid time off.

The company lists open positions on its website.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Colorado Enterprise Fund celebrates Small Business Week

May kicks off with both the national and Colorado versions of Small Business Week, a celebration of craftspeople, entrepreneurs and innovators. From April 30 to May 7, the Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is supporting the efforts of entrepreneurs with multiple events.

The nonprofit, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary of supporting small businesses in the state, is hosting a Startup Financing for the First-Time Entrepreneur workshop at the Commons on Champa on May 3 starting at 1:30 p.m. The workshop will highlight how three local businesses, Knotty Tie Co., Tom and Chee and Let Em Have It Hair Salon, have benefited from CEF loans. Registration is encouraged as there are only 200 seats available.

In addition, CEF is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) on additional National Small Business Week events. Among them are the Denver Business Resource Fair on May 2 and the Lenders Panel Discussion on May 5.

The CEF events are just a smattering of what's going on in and around Denver for Small Business Week. For the full calendar, visit www.coloradosmallbizweek.com.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

University of Denver launches one-year cybersecurity master's program

Some estimates show that there are roughly 12,000 cybersecurity job openings in Colorado. The University of Denver is stepping in with a new accelerated MS program in cybersecurity at a 50 percent discount aimed at helping fill some of these positions.

"The average salary for a cybersecurity engineer is roughly $170,000 and very few master's programs in cybersecurity currently exist, this unique degree offering is an attractive option for those wishing to switch careers and improve their earning potential," according to a statement from the University of Denver.

The master's program is being offered through the University of Denver's Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science and classes will begin in the fall. While a computer science background isn't required for the program it says that strong analytical and quantitative skills are required for the program. The university also is offering bridge courses in computer science to help those without a background in computer science.

Still it's difficult to tell just how many positions are really available in the field in Colorado. Erik Mitisek, executive director of the university's nascent Project X-ITE, recently told The Denver Post that Colorado Springs may have the highest concentration of cybersecurity experts in the country. He added that it's hard to know because many employees in the field may have special clearances or can't talk about the programs they're working on.

Project X-ITE launched last fall as a collaborative initiative between DU's Engineering/Computer Science, Law and Business Schools to promote entrepreneurship at the university and across Colorado. Project X-ITE hosted its first event, the Cybersecurity Summit at the Cable Center on April 19. "We anticipate hosting additional cybersecurity-focused events through Project X-ITE that students from the cybersecurity master's program will be able to organize, lead and/or attend," JB Holston, Dean of the Ritchie School.

Holston says they anticipate having up to 20 students per cohort beginning the fall. "This will be an ongoing offering," he adds.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

NSR, Kickfurther partner to boost data-driven investments

Denver-based NSR Invest is partnering with Kickfurther to boost the latter company's financing marketplace. Under the partnership, NSR's data-driven analysis tools will help Kickfurther's clients choose offers.

"This partnership has the potential to add tens of millions of dollars into our crowdfunding ecosystem," says Kickfurther CEO Sean De Clercq. "We admire the team at NSR Invest and their leadership as pioneers in FinTech. We're incredibly excited to work together to find more ways for all our customers to grow their money."

NSR connects investors and borrowers with plug and play investment opportunities. It provides services for individuals, wealth managers, family offices and institutions. Kickfurther will add another opportunity for investment on the NSR platform.

"Kickfurther provides our clients with a differentiated opportunity to access investment opportunities that provide enhanced yield," says NSR CEO Bo Brustkern. "Kickfurther is a fast-growing platform in the inventory financing space providing attractive short term yield opportunities on a fractionalized basis for both retail and accredited investors. This is an excellent fit for our 5,000-strong user base and aligns beautifully with our mandate."

Kickfurther helps young companies and startups finance inventory orders on a short-term basis. Company officials say its offers represent an average of 30.04 percent annualized growth.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Everyday Colorado wants your opinion on health and the environment

The Colorado School of Public Health is seeking comments from Coloradans about the environment, public health and community development. To do so, the school and its graduate students have partnered with the Tri-County Health Department and public health professionals across the state to launch Everyday Colorado, a new website to gauge public opinion on the issues. Organizers are using #EverydayCO to promote the site and survey tool.

"The Everyday Colorado interactive online tool asks participants to identifying values, rank concerns and offers the opportunity to learn more about emerging issues that may affect the health and well-being of Colorado communities," explains CSU Professor Jennifer Peel, co-director of the project.

The project aims to investigate current and emerging environmental health issues across Colorado, organizers say. As such they're encouraging people to take the survey and share the site with others across the state.

"The success of this project relies on people sharing their stories with us to inform how we do business. We want to know about the everyday concerns and priorities of people in the diverse communities of Colorado, from Denver to Silverton to Sterling and everywhere in between," adds Tom Butts, deputy director of the Tri-County Health Department and project co-director.

Professor Jill Litt, who teaches this class at Colorado School of Public Health and is a co-director on the project, says, "The student involvement, through community engagement and developing content about environmental policies and action steps, is a critical component of this community-based learning project."

Organizers will collect information in the coming weeks. They plan to publish a comprehensive report based on the results later in 2016, "highlighting local and professional perspectives about Coloradans' values and necessary action steps to prepare the state for emerging challenges."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

MOO opens office in Denver for digital printing

MOO, a digital printing services provider, has opened its third office in Denver. It's one of the companies where people can get business cards, flyers, stickers and more. The company will hire a small team to help the company serve its clients and customers in central and western U.S.

MOO is initially opening an office at the Golden Triangle Galvanize. Company officials see it as a good location in the coworking community and tech and startup scene.

"As we continued to grow in the U.S. and beyond, it was important for us to be there for our customers in the central and western U.S.," says MOO COO John Kennedy. "We already print and ship from our Rhode Island facility but, to be able to serve our growing customer base as efficiently as possible, we've taken our first steps to having a full presence further West."

MOO's other offices are in Boston and Providence, but the move is intended to focus sales teams within their respective time zones and add efficiencies to customer service.

The company could have opened in other locations, but ultimately saw Denver as the best fit. Kennedy says, "We were hugely impressed with the culture and spirit of entrepreneurialism in Denver and felt that we could find a great team to help support our growth."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

The Greenway Foundation to test MSU Denver students' trash removal machines in Cherry Creek

On April 30, five unique devices will be placed in Cherry Creek at Confluence Park as part of the Clean River Design Challenge. The devices were designed by Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) students for trash removal and will be tested as part of the Greenway Foundation's annual spring cleanup event.

Students developed and designed the devices over the past eight months. Originally 10 teams demonstrated their machines to a panel of judges from The Greenway Foundation, The Water Connection, the City and County of Denver, MSU Denver's One World One Water (OWOW) Center, the Littleton/Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant and Rose Community Foundation.

Then judges selected the final devices for the Clean River Design Challenge. They're intended to raise awareness of and strive towards the development of solutions to trash pollution in the South Platte River and its tributaries. Five teams were awarded $1,000 to create a working model of their design to be tested on the Cherry Creek. Their machines will be used in conjunction with the CH2M Spring RiverSweep presented by The Nature Conservancy, MillerCoors and Noble Energy as part of Comcast Cares Day. 

Placing the machines in the creek will allow their effectiveness to be observed, according to the foundation. "This competition will both raise awareness of, and strive towards the development of solutions to this source of pollution in the South Platte River and its tributaries," officials explained in a statement.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver seeks public comment on four-year workforce plans

City officials is seeking comments on its workforce development services and program plans for the next four years. The plan is a draft for the city's state and federally funded workforce development services and programs and will help guide Denver as it strives to maintain a vibrant community with plenty of job and career opportunities.

The Denver Office of Economic Development said the report is designed to implement a "one-stop model that integrates WIOA [Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act] and [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] TANF programs into a seamless service delivery system." It will help the city plan how it will prepare the workforce of today and tomorrow. That includes developing places like The Commons on Champa to help encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.

The plan will help the city and its citizenry identify career pathways and develop learning experiences that are business-driven, including transitional jobs, professional internships and on-the-job training, with a focus on developing apprenticeship programs in areas including IT and advanced manufacturing. It also will assist the city in developing a preferred training provider list that will offer clear and transparent information to prospective students about career pathways and preferred education and training programs for potential careers.

People, businesses and organizations may comment on the Denver WIOA 2016-2020 Area Plan through April 30. Public comments may be provided to Cindy Gaertner at cindy.gaertner@denvergov.org.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

New app designed to help people deal with OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition affecting millions of people in the U.S. Sufferers have uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and behaviors. It can interfere with school, work and home life. Best friends Stephen Michael Smith and Daniel Greenfeld developed a new app called nOCD to help those with OCD.

Smith is a quarterback at Pomona University who suffers from OCD and was barely able to leave the house. Since 2014 he's worked with Greenfield and they've developed an app to help with some of the most chronic impacts of OCD. "My worst episodes never occurred when my doctor was with me, so when I needed help the most I was always on my own," Smith says.

The app is Greenfeld's first venture since graduating from Trinity University in 2014. He moved to Denver thereafter and began working on launching the app. He and Smith quickly raised $80,000 in funding to launch the app and recruited board members, including health entrepreneur Glenn Tullman, founder of AllScripts and CEO of Livingo Health.

The app launched in February 2016 and already Smith and Greenfeld are improving on it and its associated services. It offers guidance when needed and homework, allowing users to work on their compulsive behavior on their own time. It also records real-time biometric data, tracks types of episodes, offers guided cognitive behavioral exercises and keeps users accountable to staying on track with their treatment.

"We've gotten a wonderful response," Greenfeld says. He explains that the tool is designed not just for those with OCD but also for those who deliver treatment. "One of the ways we tried to create the tool is to make it useful for therapists." As such, the founders are launching a therapist portal that will allow therapists to securely access their patient information, whether they're dealing with just one or 30 or more patients with OCD.

"The future of healthcare is all about empowering consumers to take better care of themselves, and apps like nOCD are a perfect fit for enabling people when they feel an OCD episode coming on. They actually take charge and take control to better manage their own health," Tullman contends.

The app currently costs 99 cents in the Apple Store and offers two free months of use. After that users can pay $14.99 a month or $99 a year for its services. It's currently available for iOS devices, but the development team already is working on a port for Android devices.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Turing School launches intensive front-end engineering program

Denver's Turing School of Software & Design is launching its second intensive training program in front-end engineering. The intensive month-long class is designed to prepare students for careers in website design -- from learning the basics of HTML and CSS to client-side development and web-based applications for both desktop and mobile devices.

"While we pride ourselves on opening the technology industry to a diverse array of backgrounds and talents, we evaluate all applicants for aptitude, growth mindset, engagement, agency, empathy and grit," school officials explain in a statement. "Across our programs we've evaluated over a thousand candidates, selecting fewer than 35 percent."

Modules typically include somewhere between 30 and 40 students, says spokesperson Eric Wetmore. This year's programs are scheduled to begin May 9, June 27, August 15, October 3 and November 28.

"Turing School is harder than any other development school. It promises and consistently delivers mid-level developers who know how to code, communicate about code, understand how to share responsibilities as a team, and respect different cultural backgrounds in the workplace," contends Instructor Romeeka Gayhart.

The school says that 96 percent of its graduates are full-time software developers within 4 month of graduation and that its graduates start at an average salary of $75,0000.

It's the second program offering for the nonprofit school, which is helmed by Galvanize Co-Founder Jeff Casimir. The first was its web application development program. Both programs are split into a series of modules or cohorts to allow enrollees to immerse themselves in the training. 

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Commons on Champa will host Get Hired! job fair

The event is aimed at hiring for the startup community and is being sponsored by BWBacon and  The Commons on Champa, which is hosting it. The events will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on April 14 and will be followed by a party at Battery621.

Get Hired! is open to the public, kicking off with a coding school session for alumni and current students of Colorado's technical training schools. The coding session begins at 4 p.m. and will feature a resume workshop, a panel and question and answer session with three accomplished local hiring managers and early access to the job fair.

The event will feature resume screeners, concierge services and interactive workshops. Through March 29, The Commons on Champa also is accepting applications for companies to participate in the fair. Interested companies can apply here.

After the fair is over at 7:30 p.m., Battery621 will host a rooftop party and Lyft will provide attendees with free rides. The party will have food and drink as well as games, raffles and live music. Learn more about the event here.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Industrial design confab coming to Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver is hosting the Industrial Designers Society of America's (IDSA's) West District Design Conference (WDDC) on April 1-2. This year's event, with a focus on Empathy Driven Solutions, will kick off, fittingly enough, with the Design Swarm honoring those slain in the terrorist attacks in Paris. Keynotes at the conference will include Michael Paterson, senior industrial designer with GoPro and Mike Neustedter, executive director of Paradox Sports. The conference helps designers and students learn about the latest trends in industrial design.

The Design Swarm will be kicked off by Jeff Smith, IDSA, of Autodesk, and Amber Goelst, of Wacom, who will share how to sketch a visual language and showing the importance of capturing rapid ideas on a screen. It will specifically honor U.S. industrial design student Nohemi Gonzalez who was slain in the Paris attack. "We should use this time to invest in each other; break down any barriers that impede on our ability to succeed; and be a part of something bigger then ourselves so we can give back," says WDDC Chair Jason Belaire.

The conference will focus on design, empathy and giving back. In terms of design it will focus on the need for design under pressure while connecting with people that others haven't met. Empathy will focus on using empathy as a research tool for industrial design planning. Giving back will focus on how design inspiration can come from unexpected sources.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver to host Solar Decathlon in 2017

Denver and the Department of Energy officials have announced that the city will host the international Solar Decathlon competition in 2017. The event will award a total of $2 million to the teams that compete in its 10 challenges to make a livable, affordable, compact solar-powered home -- essentially what each team believes will be the home of tomorrow.

Denver becomes the third U.S. city to host the biennial event, which began in Washington, D.C., and has since taken place in Irvine, California. It brings roughly 60,000 visitors on average. "As one of the top 10 metro areas for solar installations and sunny days, Denver is a great choice to host the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon,"says DOE Under Secretary Franklin Orr.

The decathlon challenges 16 teams of college students from the U.S. and around the world to design and build energy efficient, solar-powered homes that they have to transport from their location to the event location at Denver's Pena Station development. In 2017 for the first time ever, teams will receive $100,000 to defray construction and transportation costs and the teams that do the best in the gauntlet of events will receive extra awards. The team that takes first place will receive $300,000, second place gets $225,000 and third place takes $150,000.

"Denver is proud to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to bring this fun and engaging academic competition to our city," says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. "This opportunity not only highlights the Denver metro area's leadership in energy efficiency but allows us to spotlight our burgeoning solar energy industry."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

March shapes up as Denver's other big beer month

Almost half a year from the other big beer event in Denver, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), March is shaping up to be just as important for Colorado's fermentation revolution.

Colorado Craft Beer Week begins with the one-of-a-kind Collaboration Fest on March 19 and pours through March 30 at Strange Craft Beer Co. with an auction and IPA Throwdown. In fact, for the purposes of innovative brewing and moving the local industry forward, March might even be more important to craft brewing than GABF.

Collaboration Fest, being held for the second year at the Broncos' stadium at Mile High, is probably the most innovative of all the events since it invites breweries from across the world to come together and create what are mostly one-off beers with their fellow brewers. In fact, last year it was dubbed "America's most creative beer fest" by Food & Wine Magazine.

It's an important event for the industry because it encourages brewers from all over the world to exchange notes and practices -- and of course plenty of beer. "We can guarantee one thing: the beers of Collaboration Fest are sure to be some of the most unique, delicious and limited offerings you've ever tasted," say festival organizers, which include the Colorado Brewers Guild, Visit Denver and Two Parts. "Per festival guidelines, one brewery must based in Colorado and a member of the Colorado Brewers Guild, while the collaborating partners could be located next door, across the state, across the country or even overseas."  

This year the fest will boast more than 85 projects from 149 brewers. While most participating breweries are in the U.S., the fest also is bringing international attention with five international breweries participating this year.

Beyond that Denver will serve as a hub for Craft Beer Week, with events happening throughout the state. While many are at breweries, others have unique locations -- like the Mighty Beer Run in Platt Park on March 26.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

ADvocate, a community for ad tech professionals, launches in Denver

Denver's Epiphany Ai has partnered with Innovation Pavilion and The Trade Desk to launch ADvocate, a new collaborative community focused on advertising technology and entrepreneurs. The new venture is aimed at cementing Colorado at the forefront of ad tech and addressing industry challenges today and tomorrow.

To help kick off the new venture Epiphany Ai is hosting a party at its headquarters in Denver on March 16. "We call out to other ad tech companies to join us on our quest of making Colorado the best ad tech [state] in the world," says Epiphany Ai CEO Joe Salvador. "We have the talent and the tech at our fingertips -- now it's time to work together to make it happen."

"We started ADvocate with Innovation Pavilion not only to focus on the current success and growth of the ad tech industry, but to help Colorado secure a position as an international leader in ad tech," Brian Allen, Epiphany Ai's chief technology officer asserts. "It's imperative that we educate the younger generation about this industry and what is required to be a successful ad tech professional. We believe the knowledge required for this emerging industry can only be passed on through an apprentice relationship -- learning alongside the industry professionals."

Already ADvocate is spawning new programs. ADprentice is aimed at helping to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs in the ad tech space and is focused on students. In addition, The Trade Desk is launching the ADventure accelerator in collaboration with ADvocate. Touted as the first ad tech accelerator in the country, ADventure will help advance second-stage ad tech companies around the world.

"We are thrilled with the opportunity to share our experiences with Colorado ad tech community," said Mike Davis, VP of Innovation at The Trade Desk. Davis is a founding board member of ADvocate. "Collaboration and innovation are two major keys to The Trade Desk's success, and it's a privilege to be able to pay that forward to the next generation of ad tech leaders."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

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